A Woman’s Role in the Great Commission October 22, 2003
Go ye therefore and teach all nations Matt. 28:19
When asked to do this topic my first thought was, “Why ask me, I've never been to N.Y. for Jesus, Honduras or even a book convention?” But I was told the committee wasn't looking for someone that did all that - but rather “that this topic be an encouragement for mothers in the ‘little contacts of life’ that might make a difference.”
If you are a mother today, what is the greatest calling you have from God? Titus 2:3-5 “The aged woman likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young woman to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” So if God has given you children, make them #1.
Take time to be there for your children! And while you're there, make the most of it. Teach them, listen to them and really get to know them and what makes them tick. If you do this when they're small, they will still be there communicating as they grow older. Will you need to make sacrifices at times? Yes, but the sacrifices will be worth it later on as you will still know who your children’s friends are and what they are doing. And you will not have lost your influence as a mother! Children catch a whole lot more then we give them credit for. They know as they grow older how you really feel about the church and ministry and dress and on and on we could go. If you don't appreciate and support where you're at, don't expect you're children to. Who do you have for closer friends? How much do you associate with those with different beliefs and standards? Your children are watching and learning. Don't kid yourself.
I’m going to give you three illustrations and I want you to tell me why I'm giving them.
1. I have a friend and her children were in 4-H at the time. It was her turn to host the meeting and serve lunch. Some of the parents stayed for the meeting so she wasn't only dealing with children. She knew her family always had prayer before meals - but what about when you have such a mixed group of people ? Her husband wasn't home or a Christian. When it came time to serve lunch, she simply stated that they normally have prayer before meals and would anyone want to volunteer to have an audible prayer now. She was prepared to go ahead - but much to her delight a young man volunteered. She told me later she felt so good for days that she had the courage to stand up for what she believed.
2. Recently I was doing business on the phone and after making an appointment to meet, the man said, “Lord willing then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Humm... I thought, I wonder what kind of man is this? When he pulled in the next day the front of his car said, the Lord is my pilot . As he got out of his car I couldn't help noticing the number of buttons open on his shirt with a cross on a gold chain around his neck and the silver bracelet on his wrist. Later, when looking for a paper and finding it, his response was “Hallelujah”. Incidently, I also learned he was a Mennonite.
3. When I had my first child I liked to put him in the stroller and go for long walks We had some old people living near us that often sat on their porch. I smiled and said “Hi” several times and then stopped to visit. After several visits the woman told me she was surprised I talked to them. She didn't think Mennonites talked to anyone but each other. Our friendship grew and one day she said, “I thought you didn't have TV?” “We don't,” I assured her. “Then why do you advertise it?”,she asked. I didn't know what she meant. She pointed to the small label on the front of my son’s shirt that said Sesame Street. What are your thoughts on these illustrations? Be a witness wherever you are. Make sure you're leaving a consistent testimony. People notice more than you think. Our walk and talk must line up.
Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples. I don't know how far they actually went in their travels - but is that the bottom line - how many miles we cover? No - Jesus said, “Go”, and make disciples. Do you go anywhere? For groceries, to Wal -Mart, even to church? Church? Are you willing to teach Sunday School or Bible school or have a topic if asked ? It's something you can do. I know we have lots of excuses of why we can't, but God has promised to help us if we ask Him and I'd like to challenge you to accept the challenge - if you're ask to teach, at least try.
What about when we shop? What kind of impression are you leaving ? How is you're child's behavior? Do they know what no means and not to touch? And with the holidays coming up it opens up a whole new way to leave a testimony. I found two quotes I liked... “We're not assigned to convert the whole world, God has only entrusted us with a small portion which He will one day hold us accountable for.”
Wherever we are in our vocation, if Jesus is Lord of our lives, that place is a holy place of service for flim. Are we taking our God given responsibility as mothers, wives and single sisters seriously? Let's do our best, it's God's assignment for us.
So then, what about our neighbors? If we're to witness to those around us, shouldn't we be friends? Theres a story of an old man with his grandchild sitting at a gas station watching the traffic go by. A family pulled in and told the man they were looking to move, what kind of neighborhood is this? The old man ask what it was like where they came from. He was told the people were spiteful, talked about you behind your back and didn't help each other. The grandpa told him that's just how they were in this town, so they left. A little later another family pulled in also looking to move. They ask the same question and the man asked the same question about the community they were moving from. They told him that in their old neighborhood everyone helped each other and got along and they had hated to leave. The old man said that's just how this town is. So they to left and the child asked, “Grandpa, why'd you say two different things?” “It's because the people were telling on themselves and what kind of neighbors they themselves were.” What kind of neighborhood do you live in? Everyone's busier now then they were years ago and there’s not as much interaction. Do you know your neighbors? Trust me, they know more about you then you think.
I'll just mention two of ours that moved into the neighborhood after we did. I went to see the first ones, taking along a plate of cookies. They were a young couple with two small children. They invited me in and were very friendly. They would be interested in being friends on a more social level, but I’ll admit, I keep that at arms length. They travel and we do help care for their animals when they're gone, and I'm back and forth with the woman some, she would have liked for our sons
to be back and forth alot, but I chose to keep that at a minimum. I didn't want that influence in our home on a regular basis.
There was another family moved in and it was green bean time so I went to visit taking along beans. This woman also had small children and she cracked the door just enough to see what I wanted. I welcomed her to the neighborhood, told her who I was and gave her the beans. I felt like she probably threw them out when I left. A few years went by and they'd never wave or respond other then look the other way. I invited the children to Bible School but always got a no. And then, several years ago I was picking up some children in town and they ask if they could invite some friends. Well, their friends happened to be these neighbor children. When I went to drop them off they were going to get out in town and call their mom to come get them. I said no, I go right past, I'll take them home and pick them up at their house the next evening. Her door is now open a little farther, her children have gone to Bible School several years and she now lives with another man and his children go along also. It's a home I would never allow my children to go play at - not that it was ever a problem - but we do wave to each other now. The girls in this house did memory work and even remembered some from the year before. The other neighbor’s children never went along with us because they were to busy with other things.
How involved should we get with those we rub shoulders with in winning souls for God's kingdom? I don't know if there's an easy answer, But I think we do know where to start, and that's at home. If you have a desire to reach out to others, pray about it, God can arrange the meeting.
Not all of us are called to go to a far away place, but if you are, make it a matter of prayer seeking God's will.
There's a story called "The Unseen Hand"
There was once a famous German artist named Herkomer, born in the Black Forest, whose father was a simple woodchopper. Herkomer was a gifted artist, and as his reputation grew, he moved to London and built a studio there. He sent far his aged father, and the dad came, full of pride for his son, and lived with him. The old man enjoyed creating things out of clay, and he learned to make very beautiful bowls and vases, items of which he was very proud. So the father and son were in business together as artisans. But as the years passed, the old man's abilities deteriorated, and at the end of the day as he went upstairs, he would seem sad that his work was now inferior.
Herkomer's sharp eye detected this, and when his father was safely upstairs and asleep for the night,
Herkomer would come downstairs and take in hand the pieces of clay that his old father had left. He would gently correct the defects and the faults, and mold them a little one way or the other. And when the old man would come down in the mornings, he would hold up the pieces in the morning light, smile, and say, "I can still do it as well as I ever did."That's just what our father does with us. We try to do for Him what we can. We visit the sick, teach the children, sing and invite and take food to the bereaved. We send our missionaries and pray for them. But we're all frail and flawed, and our work for the Lord isn't as perfect and pure as we would like.Yet the Lord places His omnipotent hand on it, and shapes it, and uses it in ways far greater then we know.
Charles Spurgeon once said, Don't hold back because you cannot preach in St. Paul's. Be content to talk to one or two in a cottage; very good wheat grows in little fields. You may cook in small pots as well as big ones. Little pigeons can carry big messages. Even a little dog can bark at a thief, and wake up the master and save the house. A spark is a fire. A sentence of truth has heaven in it. Do what you do right, pray over it heartily, and leave the result to God.
Keep your light shining, God will place it where it will do the most good. A student learns what his teacher knows, but a disciple becomes what his master is. Let's strive to be disciples.
– Lorraine High